Updating A Coffee Table Using Chalk Paint And Retique It Liquid Wood

11 Materials
2 Hours

We desperately needed a new coffee table, so I went on the hunt!

After a few days of searching, I found the coffee table pictured below on marketplace. The piece itself was absolutely perfect for our space, but the look of it....🤔....Not so much 🚫

So it needed a makeover!

I really wanted a wood top and painted base...but there was one problem...while this piece is well built, it isn't solid wood, or even veneer... it's MDF 😔 So there was no sanding it down and staining it.

Thankfully, I know of a product called Retique It. It's liquid wood that you paint on and then stain, perfect product for this project!

Read below to see how I gave this coffee table a rustic/modern/industrial makeover 😍

I've also included lots of my favorite tips and tricks along the way...........


Below is a quick video showing step by step how I achieved this look.

I first did my usual basic prep...

•Clean entire piece well with a Degreasing cleaner (totally awesome from the dollar store works great!)

•Wipe down with water

•Scuff sand the top with 100 grit sandpaper

•Scuff sand the body with 150 grit sandpaper

•Sand out any light scratches and fill deep ones

•Wipe down entire piece with water

For the top -

Using a chip brush, I applied a thin coat of Retique It liquid wood in the color light and allowed that to completely dry.

Side note- (Depending on the look you want will depend on how many coats you do. Anything you see once that first coat dries will slightly peak through in spots in the next step. So if you don't want any of the original color of the piece to peak through, apply 3 coats of the liquid wood, not just 2 like I have done for this piece. You can also use a contrasting color of liquid wood for your final coat. I suggest looking at Retique It examples and seeing what colors and combinations you like most 😊)

Back to it.....

Then I applied a second coat of Retique It liquid wood and while it was still wet, I ran the graining tool over the surface, quickly wiping it off after each pass. This gives it a really cool wood grain design and texture.

I you're doing a large piece and find that your liquid wood coat is drying before you can get the graining tool through it, lightly mist it with water.

If you don't like a section of wood grain design, brush over it with the chip brush and then run the graining tool through it again.

The Retique It graining tools (they come in a two pack, one large and one small) are different than most others. They are rubber...others are hard plastic, which scrapes the bottom layer, essentially removing and/or scratching up the previous layer. So be sure to invest in a softer rubber graining tool

Now, stain the Retique It -

Be careful with which stain you use on retique it, normal penetrating stains such as minwax will not work well. Gel stains work the best. I personally prefer either Retique It waterbased Gel stains or Varathane Premium fast dry stains.

Once liquid wood has completely dried, I brushed on a light coat of Varathane's Briarsmoke premium wood stain. Then wiped back the excess.

Then I brushed on a thin coat of Varathane's Kona premium wood stain and wiped back the excess.

I then applied a full layer of Briarsmoke, lightly wiping back the excess stain.

Since I didn't allow the previous coats to dry completely yet, this step blended the Kona in more and even removed some of it. The more pressure you apply while removing the excess stain, the more of the Kona Stain will be removed.

If you find that you removed too much of the Kona Stain, you can add more. I suggest doing a dry brush technique at this point so that not too much gets added back.

Dip just the tip of the brush into the stain, then dab the brush onto a paper towel to remove excess, then very lightly brush over the areas you'd like the darker stain. This also helps highlight the raised wood grain.

For the body -

I knew I wanted to change from knobs to library card catalog style pulls, so I needed to fill in the current knob holes.

I just used wood filler for this project since the new pulls will cover the old holes, so I wasn't worried about perfection.

If the new hardware won't be covering the old holes on your project, I suggest either using Bondo (might need two layers) or use a plug (piece of dowel) first, then smooth it out with wood filler.

Once the wood filler was set, I sanded it smooth with 100 grit sandpaper, then went over it again with 150 grit to smooth out the surface scratches made by the 100 grit sandpaper.

Then I wiped down the drawers with a damp (water) rag

Paint -

I used Retique It's Tripletique Chalk Paint in the color Midnight Black, a true matte black. This paint has the primer and topcoat built right in! And, it's now my new go to furniture paint!

This is a large coffee table, 48"x28", but I only needed one 8oz container of paint.

I first applied a thin coat of paint, misting the surface and brush with water as needed to keep the brush gliding over the surface freely.

Allow the first coat to dry completely, then lightly sanded it with 400 grit sandpaper.

Brush off any dust, then apply your 2nd thin coat of paint.

I only needed 2 coats for this piece. But some colors may require 3, or maybe even more coats. Sand with 400 grit sandpaper after each coat except for the very last one.

Black (or any dark color) chalk paint can leave chalky fingerprints when touched, and since this piece will be touched a lot, I wanted to do something to stop this from happening... Which, would be to apply a topcoat. Now, topcoats over black paint can he tricky. Using a damp sponge, a quality waterbased topcoat, and super thin coats has always worked well for me, but I didn't want to spend much more time on this piece, plus I wanted to keep the ultra matte look, so I turned to wax. I applied a thin layer of wax using a terry cloth sponge meant for car wax (purchased from Amazon), without buffing afterwards, allowed to dry, and now there's no chalky fingerprints left behind when touched 😊

This is what was leftover of the 8oz container after painting the coffee table 😊🤯

This paint really does go a long way!

I then got rid of the dated bun feet and installed these new modern industrial legs, put the new pulls on, and then brought this handsome devil into the family room 😍

I got the feet and the pulls from Amazon

This is now my favorite piece in the whole house! 😍 and only the 2nd piece that I've ever done for our own home! I always sell the pieces I refinish, but this beauty is staying put ♥️

He looks great in our family room and gives us some much needed storage space

You can really see the texture from the wood graining tool in this photo

Next, I'll be doing side tables to match 🖌️

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  • Kfi11772905 Kfi11772905 on May 11, 2022

    Great job! Where did you find the new industrial look legs for the finished product?

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